The Why & How of Sliding Scale Prices

A reflection on the personal and collective responsibilities of sharing privilege.

What is sliding scale pricing? And how should you interact with the price levels at The Branches? Let’s dive in.

Should Only Wealthy Individuals Access Wellness?

Sliding scale pricing means that the same service or product can be purchased at different price points. We choose to make sliding scale pricing available for several of our offerings because we believe in creating more equitable access to wellness services and spaces in a general sense. In this specific instance, we’re aiming to address financial inaccessibility.

When we offer sliding scale, we usually use three levels. They’re called:

  • The Standard Rate: this is the going rate, based on comparable offerings throughout the market, and it enables us to pay our teachers fairly and our staff a living wage
  • The Subsidized Rate: this rate is for folks experiencing financial hardship & inaccessibility
  • The Community Supporter Rate: this rate is for those with the means to help us offer the subsidized rate

When you select a pricing level at The Branches, you are free to choose from the three rates at your own discretion. This means that you are not required to prove or explain your financial need to us.

Some small business owners hesitate to offer sliding scale pricing because they fear that customers will take advantage of the lower rates, even if it’s not actually necessary. Or, they feel that the lower rates don’t do justice to the energy, time, and value of their service or product. We get it, and we recognize that it can feel like a vulnerable position to put yourself in, especially in an uncertain economic climate.

By offering the freedom to choose, we’re both empowering our community to meet their own needs, and counting on individuals to make choices about sliding scale pricing with integrity. We know that our students come from a wide spectrum of financial standings, whose financial position is influenced by their ability/disability status, career income, household or generational familial wealth, etc. Our desire is that folks from all financial positions access yoga classes side by side.

Understanding Your Position – A Starter Guide

The question of who should pay what amount can bring up a lot of feelings. Class and financial privilege are loaded topics, especially in a society where wealth inequality is widening, and the cost of living is rising.

Here’s a graphic that can help you start to think about your current level of financial privilege. Alexis of Worts & Cunning Apothecary cunning created and shared this resource on their blog. The entire post is well worth a read, but for now, take a good look at this:

Through self-awareness, we hope to enter into a trusting and cooperative relationship with our community. When our larger student base practices generosity, this enables us to achieve the goal of financial accessibility. When individuals with some or plenty of financial privilege choose to pay the standard and supporter rates, we then have the sustainability to continue offering subsidized rates to individuals who are struggling.

Sliding Scale Offerings at The Branches

We currently have a sliding scale for the following services, listed here with Standard/ Subsidized/ Supporter prices:

You can read more about about each offering by clicking the links.

Let us know – how does it feel to participate in alternative pay structures like this? What comes up for you with regard to class, financial privilege, and sliding scale pricing choices?